I think it’s hard to overstate the impact that Eric Church has had, and will have, on an entire generation of country artists.
During his sold-out stadium show at his alma mater, Appalachian State, Luke Combs talked about how it was a friend walking into his dorm room and inviting him to an Eric Church show that got him back into country music:
“After me and my parents moved from Charlotte to Asheville, I stopped listening to country music for a good while. There was something about it that didn’t make me feel something in here.
And I remember sitting in my dorm room and a friend of mine who I’m sure is here tonight – I actually gave him tickets so I know he’s here tonight – his name’s Andy Stoker, he’s from Newton-Conover, North Carolina.
He walked into my room and he said ‘Hey, I got this guy that I think you would like. He’s playing a show at Legends tonight and his name is Eric Church.’”
And of course there’s Morgan Wallen, who recently joined Eric onstage at a show in Pennsylvania and talked about sitting in the crowd at an Eric Church show, hoping to be on stage himself one day – even calling Eric “the best fuckin’ country music singer that ever lived.”
Well we can also add Hannah Dasher to the list of artists who were inspired to chase their country music dreams by the Chief.
I’ve written before about how much I love Hannah’s songwriting and her music (and just her personality in general, but that’s a different story). And as someone who’s also a big fan of Eric Church, it makes sense that her music would be right up my alley – because it was Church that inspired Hannah to start writing country music in the first place.
Hannah recently co-hosted The Kelleigh Bannen Show on Apple Music and talked about how Church’s debut album, Sinners Like Me, got her back into country music:
“Country has just always been my core.
My parents divorced on their 20th wedding anniversary. So I was in college. I was a college freshman.
And I just couldn’t listen to country music anymore. It just hurt too badly because it was just too close to home. I couldn’t listen to George Strait without crying for two and a half years.
And I didn’t love what I was hearing on the radio, with the exception of maybe Gary Allan or things like that. And a Randy Houser.”
(Just taking a break here to say that “Amen.” Both of those guys are so damn underrated).
Ok, back to Hannah:
“But a friend of mine said, ‘Hey, there’s a new guy out. And you’re gonna love his record, it’s called Sinners Like Me.’
And by God it was Eric Church. And it inspired me to write country music.”
And Church’s influence and style can definitely be heard in Hannah’s music.
The title track to Sinners Like Me was co-written Church and Jeremy Spillman. And as fate would have it, Hannah’s now writing her own songs with Spillman – songs like “If My Life Was A Country Song” which she recently had the opportunity to perform at Patsy Cline’s house.
And she’s also written songs with frequent Eric Church collaborator (and in my opinion, the best songwriter in country music) Casey Beathard.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 15 years since Church’s debut album, Sinners Like Me, was first released. I don’t know that there’s such a thing as a perfect country album, but if there’s anything close, for me that’s it.
And it’s an album that’s had such an impact on country music that it inspired an entire generation of new country superstars – names like Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, and now, Hannah Dasher.
I mean, Eric Fuckin’ Church. Hannah Damn Dasher. It makes sense.